Testing a film with a live audience is a huge part of Judd Apatow‘s filmmaking process. Finding the biggest laughs and gauging reactions is treated as an additional round of editing for the writer/director/producer. The danger in that is, even though most people sign non-disclosure agreements, word is bound to leak out early. So while This is 40, Apatow’s latest film, won’t hit theaters until Christmas, the first review has made it online in a very non-traditional place.
Comedian Marc Maron, best known for his hugely popular WTF Podcast, was among a star-studded early audience invited to see the “sort of sequel” to Knocked Up starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann and talked about it on his show. Read his quotes and more after the jump. Read More »
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Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2012 by Angie Han
Joss Whedon‘s already two for two this year, earning critical raves for The Cabin in the Woods (which he co-wrote with Drew Goddard) and then knocking it out of the park on every level with The Avengers. But he’s not finished: His third film of the year, the black-and-white William Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, just premiered at TIFF. And based on the reviews so far it sounds like the perfect capper to Whedon’s already stunning year.
Shot in just 12 days while Whedon was finishing up The Avengers, this version retains the Bard’s dialogue but moves the action to contemporary LA. (Specifically, Whedon’s own house.) Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, acquaintances whose prickly banter signals an obvious compatibility. Other Whedon favorites fill out the rest of the cast: Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, and Clark Gregg. Read more of the early buzz after the jump.
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Posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 by Angie Han
With Labor Day weekend marking the end of the summer movie season — actually, make that the traditional end of summer, period — it’s time to look ahead at the fall and winter offerings on the horizon.
We’ve got early buzz on two very different entertainments coming up, Terrence Malick‘s To the Wonder and Sam Mendes‘ Skyfall. The former made its debut at Venice this past weekend to divided audiences, while the latter has apparently begun test screenings in London. Read more after the jump.
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Paul Thomas Anderson did another early screening of his new film The Master in 70mm last night at Chicago’s Music Box Theater, to follow on the Santa Monica showing that took place a couple weeks ago. Just about the only people who seem to be unhappy about that are officials at film festivals, as praise for various aspects of the film is pouring in via Twitter and a few reviews. (The Venice film gave The Master a slot in competition, but the showing will now hardly count as a world premiere.)
It would be wrong to suggest that the praise for Anderson’s latest film is uniform. The film follows a drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) as he comes into the orbit of the magnetic title character Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Dodd’s wife (Amy Adams), who have organzied a coterie of followers around Dodd’s philosophical approach to life. The film’s performers are universally acclaimed so far, as is the visual presentation, specifically as seen in 70mm. Some seem to be seeking a new film to lead the charge in the battle between film and digital, and have found it in The Master. But the movie is also called a bit aimless (which isn’t necessarily a point of complaint) and referred to as one that takes a lot of processing time.
See some of the reactions below. Read More »
Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 by Angie Han
The same breathtaking ambition that makes Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s David Mitchell adaptation Cloud Atlas so intriguing also gives it the potential to flop, hard. Weaving together six interlocking stories that cut across time, space, and genre is difficult enough to do within the confines of a novel, to say nothing of a three-hour film. Then there’s that insane casting: stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Jim Sturgess are each playing multiple characters, in some cases switching genders or races to do so.
Thankfully, buzz from test screenings suggests that much more of it works than not. Keep in mind that quite a few things may have changed in the few months since testing began (for one thing, some of these folks saw a cut that was four hours long), and that these reactions are coming from people whose tastes we don’t know. Even so, a flood of positive reactions seems like a very promising sign. Hit the jump to read the comments.
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Here’s why you should go out to the movies on a Friday evening: last night at the Aero, in Santa Monica, audiences who turned up to see The Shining were told that Kubrick’s movie would be followed by a surprise double-feature. That second film was Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, and it was projected in 70mm.
What a cool move on Anderson’s part — not a test screening, but just a low-key surprise for people who were in the right place at the right time. (This is a bit like his choice to premiere There Will Be Blood at Fantastic Fest, when that festival was a lot smaller.) Opinions are starting to filter out about the movie, and while they’re largely from people we don’t know — so we don’t know their taste in film in general — there are some comments that you’ll probably want to read. Read More »
Warner Bros. has been incredibly careful with their marketing and access in regards to The Dark Knight Rises. Only a handful of select outlets were allowed to see Christopher Nolan‘s Batman finale in advance and Monday marks the lift of that embargo. The reviews are now online and – surprise, surprise – they’re mostly very positive. It seems Nolan has lived up to, but maybe not exceeded, the lofty expectations we’ve placed on him for the past few years.
After the jump, we’ll excerpt and link a bunch of reviews from well-respected outlets. Read More »
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Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man screened last week for junket press, but attendees were largely forbidden to review the film at the time, or even discuss it in detail on social media. But the film premiered this week in London, and with that open screening taking place reviews are starting to proliferate.
So what do people have to say about this Spidey reboot, which stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans? The film changes some elements of Spider-Man’s origin, and in the view of some emphasizes the emotional/teen romance angle more than in Sam Raimi’s films. (Which means that some people didn’t watch Raimi’s films too closely, because the emotional angle was huge in all three.)
The consistent takeaway is that Garfield and Stone are quite good together, and that the supporting cast gives them an able boost. But the rest of it? Well, it’s a summer movie… Read More »